Epiphanies. Unannounced, these singular moments open life with explosive understanding. The funny thing is, these new insights come when we’re just living life, doing ordinary things. They can entice us away from our routine ways, reminding us that there is more to grasp, if we’re willing to see.
Epiphany 4: Calm
“Match your breathing to His.”
I was sitting with my friend, trying to pray. She and I were volleying back and forth in our conversation with God. All at once, she began to plead with God from a place of pain. I could feel her desire and deep need for comfort. As she struggled, I thought of Jesus, sitting on His throne of mercy, listening, taking it all in. It was a startling picture because, though Jesus was thoughtfully and compassionately accepting her heart cries, He wasn’t perplexed. He wasn’t anxious. And the picture was so wonderfully compelling. In my own prayer response, I invited my friend to breathe—deeply—and to match her breathing to His.
I can’t say that Jesus is breathing in Heaven now the way He breathed on earth. But we know that He did breathe here. After His resurrection, Jesus reassured His disciples that He was still a human being of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39). And before He returned to Heaven, Jesus breathed on His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).
Is God really there? Does He care about me? These questions constantly niggle their way into our hearts, begging to be answered like a small child who wants reassurance when he can’t see his parents. Can we hear the comforts offered us? Will we accept them as true, though known only by faith?
Must I feel his freshness
at an interval of inches? and sense,
incredulous, the reassurance of warm breath?
and hear again the grit of stone
under his sandal sole?
those familiar Judean vowels
in the deep voicing of beatitude? recognize
the straight stance, quick eye,
strength, purpose, movement, clear command—
all the swift three-day antonyms of death
that spring up to dispel its sting,
to contradict its loss?
Must I be Thomas—belligerent in doubt,
hesitant, tentative, convinced, humbled, loved,
Must sight sustain belief?
Or is a closer blessedness
to know him risen—now
in this moment’s finger-thrust of faith—here
as an inner eyelid lifts?*
This “match your breathing to His” so caught my friend midstream that she laughed. Yes, she said, I can breathe with You, Jesus. And her body and soul began to relax in the joy of shared life with a risen, overcoming Savior. For the rest of the day, I would bring my hand to my face and slowly exhale—a physical reminder of the living Jesus. Steady, unhurried, without anxiety. I will match my breathing to His.
- What comes to mind when you think of Jesus sitting on His throne right now?
- How does this make you feel?
- Do you feel connected or disconnected to Him?
- How might He be inviting you to be with Him today?
*Luci Shaw, “To Know Him Risen” in Horizons, p. 126